Posted August 2018
China – Heineken and China Resources Enterprise join forces in China
Two in need clinched a deal. The transaction, which has been discussed for months, was finally confirmed on 3 August 2018, when the world’s number two and three brewers, Heineken and CR Enterprise (CRE) – the parent of CR Beer – said they plan to establish CBL, a new holding entity, in which Heineken will have a 40 percent stake, valued at USD 3.1 billion. The holding will control CR Beer, the leader in the world’s largest beer market – China. Its main brand is Snow.
In return, Heineken will contribute its three Chinese breweries to its new partner. CR Beer will also get a license to sell the Heineken brand in China and will acquire a 0.9 percent stake in the European brewer for EUR 464 million. Read on
Lithuania – Brooklyn and Carlsberg’s brewery in Klaipeda open (of sorts)
Never trust a press release. Ring and inquire in person. It could save you a fool’s errand. When travelling around the Baltics in July, I decided to pay the new Brooklyn-Carlsberg venture at the Svyturys brewery in Klaipeda a visit. I even went so far as to promise my travel companions an evening of free beer and food. After all, the craft brewery’s opening had been confirmed by both Carlsberg and Brooklyn. Read on
Australia – AB-InBev buys online retailer BoozeBud
Australia’s big retailers will probably cry blue murder behind closed doors now that AB-InBev’s unit ZX Ventures has acquired the local online beer retailer BoozeBud. But there is nothing they can do about it. The transaction was announced on 1 August 2018.
Andy Williamson, Alex Gale and Mark Woollcoot set up BeerBud in 2014 to sell local craft beers over the internet, before changing its name in 2015 to include an array of wines, cider and spirits. Also, in 2015, BoozeBud launched a crowdfunder to raise AUD 25,000 (USD 20,000), allegedly to source “hard-to-find” beers from around the world. However, the campaign failed to reach its target. Read on
Canada – Molson Coors in joint venture to produce cannabis beverages
Molson Coors quickly followed words with deeds and reported on 1 August 2018 that it has entered into a joint venture in Canada to develop cannabis-infused beverages for the domestic market.
The Denver brewer said its Canadian unit, Molson Coors Canada, is teaming with Canadian cannabis producer, The Hydropothecary Corporation (HEXO), to create a joint partnership “to pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalisation.” Recreational marijuana will become legal in October this year. Read on
USA – Craft brewers hike volumes 5 percent in first half of 2018
Growth for small and independent craft brewers remained stable for the first half of 2018, according to new mid-year data released by the Brewers Association. Production volume for the craft segment increased five percent during the first half of 2018.
As of 30 June 2018, there were 6,655 active breweries, up from 5,562 during the same period last year. An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 breweries are in planning, based on active Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) licenses.
United Kingdom – Calling time on fake gin
How bizarre. While brewers unfetteredly revolutionise consumers’ understanding of what is a beer by launching weird concoctions, the UK’s gin distillers go the other way and worry about what is gin – and how can they protect it. Spearheading the conservative campaign is the London gin distillery Hayman’s, a family-owned distillery (since 1862) which is located in Balham, South London. Read on
Germany – Hot weather causes beer bottle shortages
Climate change? Then let’s have more of it if it helps German brewers hike sales. However, brewers are desperate. Unforeseen demand has caused a shortage of empties in the market.
Initially, German brewers were concerned that all their advertising spending for the FIFA World Cup would be wasted after Germany’s national team ingloriously departed early in the tournament. Soccer is a big driver for beer sales here. The World Cup in 2010 and 2014 hiked volumes by 4 percent each time.
But this year they need not fret either. The scorcher that has the country thirsting for beer since June continues to be upon us and will compensate brewers more than they could have hoped for. Read on
Netherlands – Heineken’s margins to contract in 2018 because of Brazil
Heineken’s effort to expand in Brazil, where AB-InBev is the market leader, has put pressure on its margins during the first half of 2018, it was reported on 30 July 2018. Heineken said its beer volumes increased 4.5 percent from January to June, with Europe the only region to see a decline, though the amount it was earning per hl fell 8.2 percent.
The company said it hiked net profit 9.1 percent to EUR 950 million (USD 1.1 billion) on turnover of EUR 10.8 billion, a 4.2 percent increase over the first six months of 2017. But, the company added, it was updating its operating profit margin guidance for the full year to a decrease, due in part to its activities in Brazil. Read on
Belgium – AB-InBev streamlines global management
In an effort to grow sales and cut costs, AB-InBev announced that it has streamlined its global management structure. Instead of being split into nine geographical zones, the brewer is to shift to only six, the company said on 26 July 2018. What is more, the restructuring will also combine ZX Ventures, a separate unit established in 2015 to buy craft breweries and create products for evolving consumer demands, with its marketing branch. ZX Ventures is said to remain independent, though.
The company has also created two new positions. There will be a Chief Non-Alcohol Beverages Officer, who will look after the company’s non-alcoholic portfolio, which accounts for more than 10 percent of AB-InBev's current volumes, but plummeted 43 percent in the second quarter. Further, there will be a Chief-Owned Retail Officer to oversee the company-owned bars around the world. Read on
USA – Constellation Brands buys Texas craft brewer Four Corners
Constellation Brands has acquired Dallas-based Four Corners Brewing Company for an undisclosed sum. This transaction, announced in early July 2018, underlines Constellation’s regional approach to US craft beer. It previously bought Florida’s Funky Buddha in 2017 and California’s Ballast Point in 2015 for a staggering sum of USD 1 billion.
Four Corners was founded in 2012. Last year, the brewery more than tripled its brewing capacity to nearly 30,000 hl. Co-founders George Esquivel, Greg Leftwich, and Steve Porcari will continue to lead day-to-day operations, it was reported.
Japan – AB-InBev takes back control of Budweiser’s sales
Seemingly unhappy with Kirin’s efforts to market Budweiser in Japan, AB-InBev has decided to take the brand into its own hands from 2019. It has cancelled its licensing partnership with Kirin, which has produced and sold Budweiser domestically since 1993, media reported in July 2018. Allegedly, Kirin has struggled to increase the sales of Budweiser. Instead, it has focused on bolstering the sales of its own beer brands.
Under the new arrangement, AB-InBev’s local unit will import and sell the brand, which has already taken over the sales of Hoegaarden and Stella Artois brands this January from Asahi. Read on
United Kingdom – Australia’s Lion buys London craft brewer Fourpure
London’s craft brewers seem to have a thing going for them. Or why would international brewers want to snap them up? In July 2018, Australia’s Big Brewer Lion, which is owned by Japan’s Kirin, announced that it has fully taken over Fourpure. No financial details were released.
The Bermondsey-based brewer, which was founded in 2013, has grown rapidly, thanks to spending over GBP 4 million (USD 5.3 million) on expansion projects over the past 12 months alone. Its brewing capacity stands at 60,000 hl and it currently employs 70 people. Read on
Germany – Global beer production again flat in 2017
According to the latest annual Barth report, which was released on 30 July 2018, global beer output in 2017 rose by only 1.2 million hl and has stagnated at just below 2 billion hl since 2012.
However, over the same period, the demand for hop alpha-acids grew by 25 percent. This is due to craft beer volumes rising globally. Although craft beer only represents 2.5 percent of global beer production, it now requires about 20 to 25 percent of the world’s hops harvest.
According to Barth, China, the US, Brazil, Mexico and Germany are still the biggest beer producing countries. Yet, Brazil (+7 million hl) and Mexico (+5 million hl) were the only two countries among the top five to register volume growth. On the other hand, China (–10 million hl), the US (–6 million hl) and Germany (–2 million hl) registered declines.
Beer is produced in 174 countries. Combined the top three nations stood for 41 percent of global beer output, the top five for 51 percent and the top twenty for more than three quarters, says Barth. In 2017, 84 countries recorded a year-on-year increase in beer production whereas 36 countries saw a decline. There was no change in 54 countries.
Belgium – Craft brewers, Big Brewers and the future of beer: The Brewers of Europe Forum
Perhaps it was just as well that the Brewers of Europe, a lobby group representing 29 national associations, chose Brussels as the location for its first Forum (7-8 June 2018) to discuss “Beer and Beyond” in 40 seminars. Being home to the European Parliament, Brussels is known for its passionate and controversial political debates. Although ever so civilly, the antagonisms determining relations among Europe’s 8,500 brewers also came to the fore at the two-day forum, which was attended by an estimated 700 delegates.
Europe’s Big Brewers and craft brewers may not be at loggerheads as they seem to be in the US, but the lines are drawn nevertheless. Read on